Home › Forums › Advice & Chat › I don’t know how to handle a situation that hasn’t happened yet.
- This topic has 18 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 2 months, 3 weeks ago by QuirkyChicken.
Okay, so I don’t know what I am hoping to accomplish here because I don’t really know if this is one of those types of problems, but basically, my twin brother’s dog is going to die soon, and I’m really worried about what that’s going to do to him and how I might be able to help him more.
So we grew up in a lot of chaos. Abusive parents/alcoholic dad/poor/dangerous neighborhood/sibling addicted to drugs/etcetra. My brother and I both learned to handle that in different ways, and he became the more closed off type. Very guarded. This dog “Daisy”, was really the thing that ever allowed me to see my brother’s more..warm? side. He got her as a puppy when someone in the neighborhood’s dog had “unplanned” puppies they were trying to get rid of.
We’ve both since moved out the neighborhood in different (still nearby) cities. Daisy is the most well taken care of dog in the world. My brother dotes on her. He gets her food at a human butcher. He takes her everywhere with him (he’s the outdoorsy/wilderness type, they’ve camped all over the United States) he loves her so much. The last few years have been hard on us and our family. My brother has lost several friends to the old neighborhood just the last couple of years, his ex-girlfriend passed away, just bad stuff. Daisy has been there with him through all that.
A couple of years ago(Daisy being already a senior dog then) my brother was walking Daisy around his neighborhood when someone’s offleash dog got out and attacked her. She needed surgery. She hasn’t been in good health since. That just kind of took the wind out of her. She was recently confirmed to have some sort of bone cancer, or the beginnings of one. She was recently admitted back to the emergency vet hospital after she suffered some kind of intestinal blockage.
I think my brother knows that it wont be long soon/the time is coming. He’s been taking more off work(he’s able to do so) to take her to her favorite places. He wont return my calls or texts for days at a time.
He loves Daisy so much he has her face already tattooed on him. Daisy is a legacy.
I’m so scared for what this is going to do to my brother when she is gone. He’s kept all the other deaths and things I’ve talked about pretty much bottled up, but I think Daisy’s death is going to be bad.
I know, ultimately, I’m going to do all that I can and probably react intuitively, so I’m not really sure what I’m asking here. Maybe has anyone been through something similar? I don’t want to circle around him and Daisy like some human vulture, waiting to swoop in. But it’s most likely going to be soon. I have this gnawing “twin sense” panic going on that this is going to be bad. I don’t want to make this about me when I’m really just concerned for my brother. I know this is going to hurt him so bad, but there’s nothing that can be done about it.
I just, maybe if anyone has any pointers on maybe nice things I can do and say to him in the meanwhile? He’s been texting me every so often about Daisy’s condition. Today he took her to her favorite spot in some campground they go to every year.QuirkyChickenGuest
The only time he has spoken about this directly was when he once told me “If it weren’t for weed, all my thoughts would be how old Daisy is getting and how I don’t want to lose my best friend”. He actually did say that just once. He doesn’t normally say open stuff like that often. It was a random blurb in conversation.LisforLeslieGuest
Grief is awful and people diminish the grief a pet’s death can bring. The only thing I can think of is be there. If possible to simply show up with food and sit with him. You don’t have to talk. Just be there.
If you’re aren’t near-by – can you get there? Can you travel to see him for a short time?
If not, then do what you can to reach out. It could be ordering food for him. Send a pizza to his house. I mean, text him first and ask him if he’s home because you’re sending pizza to him. Send him stupid memes. Watch a stupid movie in a watch party.
Just tell him that you’re thinking about him and you want to know if he’s ok and if he needs anything. Sometimes just making people aware that you’re there is enough. But if you think he’s going to hurt himself – then get your ass to his home and be there in person. Drag him back to your home if you need to.QuirkyChickenGuest
Thanks. Yeah, it’s hard for me to accurately emphasize the importance of this dog in most settings, because, you know, she is a dog… my brother and I have lost people in our lives and been through what most people would consider worse things than the death of an old dog whose lead a good life, but she means so much to him. He takes better care of her than our parents ever did for us as kids.
I’ve never seen him cry, which is funny because I have had full on meltdowns watching “Babe”, but I’ve never seen my brother cry. I just have this gnawing feeling about Daisy. My brother has been through so much, been there for everyone else, and I just hate to think about how much hurt this is going to bring. I don’t think he would harm himself intentionally, I don’t know. I’m worried he might make bad decisions after.
I will absolutley find a way to get to him. He isn’t that far. Less than an hour drive. He doesn’t like people worrying over him, he finds that annoying I think. I don’t want to overstep my bounds here. I was thinking maybe I could take him fishing or maybe I could get him something he would like but wouldn’t buy for himself. I’m not the greatest at knowing what to say to people in these sort of situations. I want to be able to do everything I can to be a good sister.Dear WendyKeymaster
I think really acknowledging how much Daisy means to your brother and what an important relationship that is and how hard it will be/ is to lose her will go a longer way than you think. So often, when people lose pets that grief is as intense as if it were a person they lost. But in our society, the loss of a pet doesn’t carry the weight of losing a human loved on, and that kind of dismissiveness can add to a person’s grief. So validating his pain in whatever ways feel appropriate is going to be so helpful. Your brother is lucky to have a lucky and attentive sister!
When our dog passed a few years ago, my husband especially, who hadn’t been through the loss of a pet before, had really intense grief. So did I. I really appreciated cards and comments from people who acknowledged how hard it is and also what an awesome dog he was. And if you have pics of Daisy that your brother might not have, you can share them with him.
If he has to put her down, and you have the opportunity to go with him, that would be good so he doesn’t have to be alone for that.
You could also get a portrait or keepsake made. My mom gave me a watercolor sketch she had done of my dog from a photo. You could even just get a nice photo framed.QuirkyChickenGuest
You mean when the time comes? Because, sometimes I think he might want to talk about it, but neither of us are great at communicating these things in words to one another. He just sometimes sends me a text out of the blue bringing up Daisy’s last prognosis, and idk..hard to explain, sometimes I feel like saying “I’m so sorry you two can’t be together forever” or something. We’ve never spoken directly about how Daisy is dying. It’s sort of hard to explain. Sometimes I think we just pick up on another’s feelings without ever talking about them in words.
Yes, when the time comes. Not now.Dear WendyKeymaster
I also commissioned a watercolor painting of a friends dog after the dog died. My friend is estranged from his family and single and that dog meant the world to him. He said the painting was one of the most meaningful gifts he’s received.
I have some shelving units in my home office, and I made one shelf as a memorial to my dog. It has his urn, his paw prints they made on his last day (husband used those to get a paw tattoo), his collar, cards people sent, framed pics including that little painting, and some keepsakes he got from sitters over the years with his pic on them.
Also, the dog I had before that dog, when he passed I lived alone, and I remember it being super hard to be in the house alone. I wonder if when the time comes, if your brother is struggling with being alone, you could offer for him to stay with you for a bit or vice versa. Not sure about work commutes and stuff, just a thought.ktfranParticipant
I really like the watercolor/painting idea! I think it’d be easy to find someone who’d do that on Etsy and I don’t think it would be super expensive.
If you’re not good speaking words (i’m not), you could always express what Wendy mentioned through a thoughtful, loving letter that he can read whenever he needs to remember that someone has his back and understands how important Daisy was to him.
Back in college, so 20+ years ago, my closest friend was going through a really hard time with a boyfriend and she lost her “light”. I didn’t know how talk to her about it, so I wrote her a letter and sent it. She still has it. And she still reads it occasionally. She’s told me as much.